I never wanted to be part of a long distance relationship. I like to spend time with my boyfriend. It’s nice to be able to have the option of a spontaneous night out or for you to have a plus one for your social calendar. For them to be able to meet your friends without having to travel hundreds of miles, and to sleep in the same bed as them most nights. I really thought I would never let myself be part of a long distance relationship as in my head, it was written off entirely. I was of the opinion, what is the point of having a boyfriend when you can only see them once a month, once every few months even? Is there any point in being together when you live in totally different places and it is such an effort to see each other and be part of each other’s lives?
But as I’m never in one place for work, inevitably I was going to find myself in a long distance situation (or I could just be single forever…) and my logical brain went into overdrive on how I could make it work, and how we could go the distance (pun intended).
So here are my tips if you find yourself falling for someone who doesn’t live anywhere near you. Damn your heart for not having a radius on liking someone!
Communicate every day
Communicate every day, but not all day. It is important to stay in touch with each other on a day to day basis. This allows you to still feel part of your other halves life without physically being with them.
And it doesn’t have to be anything special or life changing. Actually, the more normal the better. If you were in a relationship and living closer, or even living together, you would talk about every day things like what you had for lunch or an article you read in the newspaper that day, so why should you eliminate that from your relationship just because of the distance between you both?
And I say not all day, as there’s a difference between communicating and becoming controlling. Everyone needs space in a relationship and it’s so easy to fall into obsessively asking what your partner is doing when you’re not with them. This will not only create paranoia for you when they don’t text back straight away. No one permanently has their phone glued to their hand and it will make your partner feel like you don’t trust them when you don’t know what they are doing every second of the day. You do not need to know every single little detail.
Make an effort
Like every relationship, you have to find time for each other. But as you live apart and it’s not possible for you to physically be there, you have to make a conscious effort to find time to talk to your partner regularly and be there for them on a contactable level. And there are no excuses with technology these days. Phone, email, text, Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp, whatever works for you guys! My boyfriend and I have fallen into voice noting each other as we work completely different hours during the day. It means we are able to have long conversations and find out everything that has happened that day but we both don’t have to be free at the same time and it makes us really concentrate on what you are saying, as essentially voice noting is just you having a conversation with yourself.
Another great way to make an effort and be thoughtful is sending a little note via post! Who doesn’t love a surprise from the post man? Major relationship points!
When you do get to actually see each other, make sure you use your time together wisely. Planning day trips or city breaks or even just planning on having a night in together really helps you on days when you’re missing each other and questioning the longevity of the relationship.
And seeing as you are mostly likely from different places, it’s nice to be a tour guide in your own town and show an out-of-towner the place you live and love.
Every relationship should be built on honesty, and it is even more important when you throw distance into the equation. There are going to be Friday nights in alone and parties where you have to go solo and you will think ‘What is the point of this continuing?’
You need to be honest with yourself. I measure if a relationship is working by asking myself a simple question: Am I happy most of the time? If the answer is yes, good times. If it is no, then you need to figure out what is standing in the way of your happiness, and it’s ok to end something that just doesn’t feel right.
Secondly, you need to be honest with each other. If you are frequently arguing or not communicating as much as you once were, is that you both being happy most of the time? Everyone should use the happiness question to weigh up their relationship!
Distance can cause paranoia in the most laid back people, so it is important to let your partner know how you feel, what you want from your relationship with them and when something isn’t feeling right, you need to discuss it and work through it together.
Have an end goal
Personally, I couldn’t be in a long distance relationship if there was never a possibility of being in the same place at the same time. I couldn’t live my life at opposite ends of the country to my boyfriend forever. But luckily, as I can move around for work, and can make work wherever I need to be, I have the option of closing the gap. And I feel that knowing it’s not going to be like this forever has been the most important part of making my long distance relationship blossom. Yes, it may not work out. Yes, it’s a big deal to uproot your life and make decisions that could take options off the table for you, but if it’s for the right person, then the distance is worth it when you do end up living considerably closer!
So don’t write off a person because of the distance between you both. You could end up having the best of both worlds. A boyfriend to spend some of your life with and weeks where you don’t have to shave your legs. Always a winner in my opinion!